Sunday, 1 September 2013
I had known he was going for a few weeks, and every time we did something, it had that sentimental feel, like this could be the last time. Our last night out, our last drive, our last chat about old memories. But it wasn't until the day before I left, that I woke up with an impending sense of dread. In 24 hours he would be already gone.
We had spent the evening before together, whilst he cleaned out his car in preparation for its hand over with the new owner. It was the bigger things, like this, selling his beloved car that made it all feel so real. Later on he would be clearing out his room, his belongings from the apartment he lived in for over two years, although I wouldn't be there for that. It makes everything seem so real, so final.
On the morning of his last full day here, I still had to go to work and I spent a busy day, trying to not think of it, I was actually glad I had something to throw myself into and I worked with an efficiency I have probably never had before. Karl would pick me up that evening, so we could go say goodbye to our friends Dean and Andrew, another big moment and I felt myself welling up at just the thought of it. Soon he will be making new friends, in a new country. New Zealand
Karl would stay in my house that evening, my other brother and his family had arrived. his wife Janine and their 3 children, earlier in the day, so they could have their opportunity to say goodbye also. But my sister Tanya, niece Rachel and her husband Alan are in Florida, a trip that had booked months before. This is hard on both of us, the 3 of us are the closest in our family and I know Karl is upset that he didn't get to say goodbye properly on the day he leaves, although they have said goodbye before Tanya's departure. I am upset that I won't have her to lean on, in the couple of days after he leaves, the hardest days that even then, I know they will be.
We both made plans to stay up the entire night, but around 3am, we both fall asleep but are woken up at 5am and within moments of waking up, I feel it, its hard to describe but its like a pit of emptiness is starting to open up inside me, inside my core and tears come almost immediately but there is stuff to do and I need to hold it together. Once we both get ready, Karl checks to make sure he has everything and we set off in the car towards the airport. Janine has offered to drive there and back and I am relieved as I don't believe that Mother will be up for the drive, on the way back.
So its, Karl, Janine, Mother and I at the airport and we spend an hour or so, having coffee and just general chit chatting, the emotional goodbye is looming, so the chatter remains light. When the time comes, we get up from the table and begin the journey to the departure gate and that is when it starts, I feel like I can't even breath, as the tears flow and I let them flow freely. Saying goodbye at the gate, is almost a traumatic experience, and I hug him and I hold him tight because it will a long time before I get the chance to do it again. I watch him get into the Q for security and already he seems to far away. I hold my mother, both of us inconsolable, people stare, others give us understanding nods or sympathy smiles. But I don't care. Even when he goes through the gates, I almost don't want to leave the airport, just so I can be close to him.
I don't say anything on the journey back, I have to prepare myself to go to work, agreeing to go in already feels like a mistake and all I am fit for is getting into bed and crying out, what needs to come out. But I try hold it together, I don't want to be seen to cry in work. But when I get there, I can't help it. It was going to well, until a friend and work colleague, came to check on me, put her arm on my shoulder and asked was I ok.
I wasn't ok, I had to leave and after just a few short hours I do. When I get home at about 4, I crawl into bed and sleep the whole way through until the next morning. I don't go into work again, I spend the day, or most of it in bed and I still try and hold it together. When I get up, I learn that my Mother has gone to visit my other brother and his wife and will be gone for a few days. My close family are all gone somewhere else and I feel, desperately lonely. I am not handling this well at all.
The next day, I really am feeling not, just the absence of Karl, but also not having the rest of family around me either. When I finish work, I feel like I am at a loss to what to do with myself, I even go and see my father, although he is not much use, as he goes to sleep not long after I get there. I think of giving Paul or Ben a call, my friends from Manchester but I don't want to disturb them with my emotional turmoil. I spend the weekend alone. Lonely.
So he is gone now and I have to deal with not having him around, to laugh with, to look out for me but I am still very happy for him and the places his career is taking him, happy and proud. When he moved to Australia, work a year, so he could do some travelling, it didn't feel anything close to this, because I knew there an end date, that he would be back soon. However, this time, is not so definite and I feel like he will be on that side of the word for years to come, with his own store and a successful and prosperous career. Selfishly I worry how this change is effecting me and I can't help it. I love him so much and I miss him. I can't wait to see Tanya, because although I have shed a few tears, I have been trying to hold it together and I think I need to let it all out and I can do that with Tanya.
Then in 4 weeks, I will be back in Manchester, our family fragmented by oceans and borders, as it was before.
I miss him more than I can adequately describe. I feel like I have been broken.